Monday, 15 September 2008

The Inner Monkey

Dear Blog, dear dear lovely Blog,

Can you tell by the tone of my voice that I have something terrible to confess? You're right. I have. I have been a bad girl again. I am thoroughly ashamed of myself. I have sat here all morning whacking myself on the nose with the rolled-up newspaper I keep for such occasions, saying, 'Baaaaad Zora, baaaaad Zora. No!' in a deep growly voice. I feel awful.

I don't know what it is, but sometimes I feel like a kind of combination of a ringleader and a performing circus animal. Ringleader Mme Zora has high hopes of Zou-Zou the Tightrope-Walking Monkey. She makes such efforts to guide her, train her and keep her in check. Zou-Zou is a dear little thing. So promising and eager to learn. She absorbs so much and listens so attentively. She rides her unicycle up and down the tightrope in her little pink tutu, twirling her frilly sunshade. A perfect angel. And so clever, how she keeps her balance and makes it look quite easy. But sometimes Mme Zora drops off to sleep in her leather armchair and her whip drops from her hand and clatters to the floor. And that is when the monkey leaps up in a flash and rampages through the circus grounds. She throws her pretty sunshade into a puddle and ransacks the place, throwing bucketloads of confetti over the tigers in their cages, writing rude messages in lipstick on all the mirrors, filling the sword-swallower's trousers with green jelly and catapulting cream cakes at the passers-by from a big shiny spoon. Oh she's a terror.

As soon as she has done it, she begins to feel ashamed. She knows Mme Zora will be disappointed in her. But at the same time, even through her shame, the feels the impish urge to roll on her back and laugh triumphantly.

I am a BAD PERSON. Not actually evil, or unfeeling or truly vicious, but uncontrollably subversive. It requires an immense continual effort for me to function within the bounds of acceptable behaviour. I can feel myself consciously exerting my willpower over myself pretty much every hour of the day. I only say about one hundredth of the bad things I think of saying. I only do about one thousandth of the bad things I think of doing. I think I do a good job of keeping my nose reasonably clean, all things considered. But there will always be brief lapses in concentration. Nobody can watch a mischievous monkey 24 hours a day every day of their lives. Not one like this, anyway. Because my inner monkey never sleeps. It is always there, always on the watch, waiting for the tiniest momentary lapse in security to wreak its chaos. That's all it needs.

Anyway, this is what the monkey did yesterday. It wrote an e-mail to a man I had sworn – for many very excellent and important reasons – not to lead into temptation and the e-mail read as follows:

'I'm just about to leave the house, only I'm having this huge dilemma about my outfit. Could you please, please, just take a quick look at this picture, X, and tell me the truth because I don't know who else to ask: do you think this beard makes me look fat?'

And then that naughty, naughty, horrid little beast attached the following picture: